When Man’s Best Friend Is Not So Friendly
People love dogs. And why shouldn’t they? Dogs are known for their loyalty and protection, and are also furry and adorable. Unfortunately though, dogs can harm people, sometimes maliciously, sometimes unintentionally. A dog bite can be a serious injury and can possibly become fatal. Dog bites most often affect the disabled, the elderly, or children. In fact, children 12 years of age and younger make up 50 percent of those wounded by dog bites.
If you are involved in a dog bite injury, here are four things you should keep in mind.
1. Treat the wound. This is obvious, but there are two types of wounds: superficial, and puncture. If the wound is superficial, such as a scrape or gash, simply clean the wound with running water and then apply hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Use a topical antibiotic and a bandage to cover the wound.
If it’s a puncture wound, you should let the wound bleed, unless the wound is on your head or neck (if so, call 911 immediately). Letting the wound bleed for five minutes helps to clean it. After five minutes, try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure. If the wound is still bleeding, it’s time to go to the emergency room.
2. Document the attack. In the event that the bite is not from a dog you own, you may have legal options that can help with any medical bills and treatment. But it is important to get immediate documentation of the attack. This is best achieved by seeking professional medical attention. But time is of the essence. If you wait too long, the wound can heal and the severity of the attack will be diminished.
3. Know the law. California is a “strict liability” state with regard to dog bites. That means the dog’s owner is liable for any injuries his or her dog has caused “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness” (California Civil Code Section 3342). This means the owner of the dog cannot claim that he or she didn’t know the dog was aggressive as a defense.
4. Get a lawyer. Dog bite lawsuits are on the rise, particularly involving injuries to young children. If you or your child has been the victim of an attack by another owner’s dog, you should seek legal aid immediately. The team at Balamuth Law is experienced with the intricacies of dog bite injury cases. Call us today at (925) 254-1234 for a free consultation.
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